Chile pepper water originates from the native Hawaiians, or Kānaka Maoli, who made it by blending water, sea salt, and fiery indigenous chiles called nioi. The salt catalyzes the fermentation, so more flavor develops over time, and a jar can keep for months. Traditionally, native cuisine was seasoned very simply. But depending on the island they dwelled on, some groups would flavor their waters with various seaweeds or roasted kukui tree nuts. Later, as different immigrants arrived to work the plantations, the list expanded even more: The Portuguese and Filipinos brought garlic, vinegar, and fish sauce. The Japanese introduced soy sauce. Each family on Hawai'i would blend together these ingredients in their own way, which is how chile pepper water came to reflect the island's many cultures and traditions.